Open Letter to Commissioner Lamy and EU Member States

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Call for transparency and assessment of services negotiations in the WTO by more than 90 civil society groups

Friends of the Earth Europe, press release 7 May 2019
For immediate release

Today more than 90 civil society groups from across the EU, including from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK have sent an open letter to European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and members of the Committee 133, the EU member states body dealing with trade negotiations. In the letter groups call for complete transparency and an assessment of the on-going services negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The open letter has been sent following the leak of draft EU requests two weeks ago, which demand that specific countries increase their services liberalisation commitments in a whole range of sectors. The range of sectors included in these proposals raises concerns about the social, economic, environmental and developmental threats of the services negotiations.

Groups criticise in the letter that despite the fact that the services negotiations will have profound implications for citizens everywhere, "this process has so far been undertaken entirely by the European Commission and the Committee 133 under conditions of total opacity". Groups state "We refuse to be confronted with a fait accompli".

Specifically, the groups demand that all EU requests in the WTO will be published on the website of the EU by 30 May and that a transparent process of negotiations will be institutionalised. Furthermore the group ask that negotiations will not proceed before a full evaluation and impact assessment of the consequences of the current or proposed GATS obligations will be conducted.

Read the full text of the letter.

Contact: Alexandra Wandel, Friends of the Earth Europe,
tel: +32-(0)2-5420185, +32-(0)497-725341

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